to "pull back," v.i.

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sun Mar 4 15:41:27 UTC 2007

OED does have the noun "pull-back" in a military sense:  "b. spec. An orderly withdrawal of military troops. Also attrib. orig. U.S." (with instances from 1951-1977).  Surely this noun was back-formed from the absent verb phrase?


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 19:24:36 -0800
>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject: to "pull back," v.i.
>"Esp. _Mil._, to withdraw (from a position)."
>  Not exactly in OED; could go under _pull_, v., 9e, but so common for so long (WW I?) that it should appear somewhere, if only as a collocational ex. (It may be so common as to be defined along with the other "pull backs.")
>  1968 in Bill Frey _Letters from 'Nam_ (N.Y.: Warner Books, 1992) 109: Finally, we were told to try to pull back.

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